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No. 5 Saint Mary’s vs. No. 12 Indiana preview for March Madness first-round matchup

The No. 5 Saint Mary’s and No. 12 winner of Indiana face off in the first round of the 2022 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of what and how to watch following Selection Sunday.

Saint Mary’s Gaels forward Matthias Tass (11) shoots the basketball against Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Drew Timme (2) during the second half in the finals of the WCC Basketball Championships at Orleans Arena.  Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Tournament begins on Tuesday, March 15th with the First Four, and then moves on to the first round on Thursday, March 17 and Friday, March 18. No. 5 seed Wyoming will face the No. 12 seed winner of Wyoming/Indiana in the first round on Thursday. Here’s an early look at what we can expect from the Gaels and either the Cowboys or Hoosiers in this year’s March Madness Tournament.

Once the odds from DraftKings Sportsbook are made available for this game, we’ll add that information below. We’ll also add the game time and TV channel once it’s settled.

Game date: Thursday, March 17
Game time: 7:20 p.m. ET
TV channel: TBS
Location: Portland, Oregon, Moda Center

Odds: Saint Mary’s -3

No. 5 Saint Mary’s

Although once again outshined by Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference, the Gaels have put together another fabulous season under head coach Randy Bennett. St. Mary’s is making its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in the past decade after reaching the 25-win mark for the fifth time since 2015. They have lost only once to a non-Gonzaga squad since Jan. 8 and even knocked off the top-seeded Bulldogs last month, holding them to 30 points below their season average in a 67-57 triumph.

That defense continues to be the Gaels’ calling card. Enhanced by their slow pace of play, the Gaels are allowing barely 60 points per game and rank ninth in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric. Forward Matthias Tass and guard Tommy Kuhse are a solid inside-outside combination, with each averaging slightly more than 12 points per game. Kuhse is shooting 46.9% from 3-point range. And guard Logan Johnson will pick your pocket; he ranks among the nation’s top 20 in steals with 64.

Record: 25-7, 12-3 WCC
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 63
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 9
Against The Spread: 18-11-2
Over Total: 15-16
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +10000

No. 12 Indiana

The Indiana Hoosiers made an impressive run in the Big Ten Tournament to take themselves off the bubble and into the NCAA Tournament in Year 1 under Mike Wodson. Indiana is in the big dance because of their play on the defensive end, and their offense needs to perform better than it has over the course of the regular season to make a run.

Indiana’s top player is Trayce Jackson-Davis, who does just about everything well under the hoop as a fantastic low post scorer, rebounder and defender. He will need some help from teammates who can make an impact from the outside, but Jackson-Davis is the real difference maker for this team.

Record: 20-13, 9-11 Big Ten
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 91
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 21
Against The Spread: 19-14
Over Total: 16-17
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +15000

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